Interview With Emma Gilbert

(Photo provided by Emma Gilbert)

First of all, how did you first get involved with track & field?

In my elementary years, there was a small track meet put on by the high school track team every year to sort of recruit girls to come out for the school´s track team. It was at the end of the year and we would practice for a few weeks before the meet. I started in this meet as a fourth grader and competed every year up until my sixth grade year. I won the shot put event every year by a good six feet, and I even set a meet record my fifth grade year. After I got into seventh grade my now-coach, Mr. Boyle, told me it would be ridiculous if I didn't come out for track. 

What are all your personal records?

My personal best record for shot put is 43´5¨, discus 108´5.5¨, 100m dash 12.95, 200m 26.50, and 400m 1:09.00.

Do you do, or have you done, any other sports?

I have played basketball since I was in kindergarten. I have started for our high school team since eighth grade, been a captain for two years, and have surpassed 1,000 career points. I have also played volleyball since fifth grade, and have been a starter for two years. 

What is your favorite or most memorable competition you've ever been in?

I have a lot of favorite meets. In the beginning of the year, I really enjoy competing indoors at Bemidji State University. They have a nice throwing area and I usually compete pretty well there. Towards mid-season, I like competing at the Hibbing High School track; this is where our IRC and Sub-Section meets take place. I would have to say the most memorable competition was my eighth grade year throwing shot put at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. It was our Section meet, and it was sunny and around 75 degrees outside. I was competing in the 4x100, 4x200, shot put and discus that day and I was pretty nervous (but also really excited). I had just found out that my relay team had won a tight finish and that we were going to the state meet. I skipped like a little girl the whole way to the throwing area and warmed up. It was a tough competition with myself and two juniors, one of them being from my own team. I was so excited and pumped up that on my third throw I threw 39´1¨ and qualified for State by the standard. 

It's not often that you see an athlete that does both throws and sprints at the level you do. How did you come about to doing both?

When I was in seventh grade I started out running before I threw. I was one of the fastest ones in my grade. Coach Hendrickson helped me a lot with my starts and then when it came to the end of the year I was passing girls older than me time-wise. She decided to put me in the 4x100m and 4x200m relays for the sub section meet, I've ran both relays ever since. I'd say running has helped my throwing a lot over the years. I've gotten quicker and faster in the circle, the adrenaline after the race really gets me excited to throw. I've also come to really like running the 400m dash. It's a fast paced race where I can use my endurance but also sprint like I always do. The 4x400 is always a super important race for my team in close finishing meets. It's the last race of the meet and if we can score the last 10 points of the meet it puts us in a lot of first place overall finishes. 

Other than your own teammates, who are some of your favorite athletes to compete against?

There were a lot of strong showing sophomores at the State Meet last year that I look forward to compete against again this year. I try to set goals and shoot higher for my next PR and if I can break a few meet records, that just puts the cherry on the cake. I still have a long way to go to set more meet records, especially in Hibbing.

(Photo provided by Emma Gilbert)

Who are some people that have been most helpful to you in your athletic career?

Coach Jay Boyle has been a huge influence in my track career along with Jen Erickson and Sheryl Hendrickson. They are always so willing to work with me and make sure I´m doing everything I can to make sure I am getting better and that I am happy in doing so. I can talk to them about anything and they really care not just about my athleticism but they care about me as a student and also a person. My mom is another huge influence in my track career. She was in track when she was in high school and she qualified to go to the State meet six times in her career for in the 100m dash, 4x100 and 4x200. She knows how stressful track can be but she also knows how much fun it is and she knows the rush of excitement you feel when you get that PR. She has been with me through everything, the tough meets, the fun meets, the feels like 1000 degrees outside meets and more. I can always count on her to be there for me with whatever I need. 

What are your main goals for this upcoming track season?

I´m really looking forward to this track season. I´m hoping to throw 45 feet in the shot and 130 feet in the discus. I´m also hoping to help our sprinting relays get to State. But my main goal is to have fun this year, break some more records, and make the most out of my junior year. 

Do you have any college plans?

I am interested in attending college where I can go into animal studies or vet school.